Rift in BJP wide open, Advani quits all party posts

Rift in BJP wide open, Advani quits all party posts

Rift in BJP wide open, Advani quits all party posts

The rift in BJP was today wide open with L K Advani quitting from all the party posts, apparently opposing the elevation of his one-time protege Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as election campaign committee chief.

85-year-old Advani, a founder member of the BJP and considered the party patriarch after Atal Bihari Vajpayee, resigned from all main fora of the party -- Parliamentary Board, National Executive and Election Committee.

In his resignation letter to party President Rajnath Singh, who announced the appointment of Modi as Chairman of the election campaign committee yesterday in the BJP National Executive, he rued that the BJP was no longer the "same idealistic party" created by Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya, Nanaji Deshmukh and Vajpayee.

"For some time I have been finding it difficult to reconcile either with the current functioning of the party, or the direction in which it is going," he said.

"Most leaders of ours are now concerned just with their personal agendas," Advani said in his one-page resignation.

Advani had skipped the three-day deliberations of the party in Goa over the weekend citing health reasons. This was the first time Advani had stayed away from the National Executive and the office bearers' meeting prior to it.

In the letter, Advani said, "All my life I have found working for the Jana Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party a matter of great pride and endless satisfaction for myself".
After finding fault with the way the party was being run now, he concluded the letter saying, "I have decided, therefore, to resign from the three main fora of the party, namely, the National Executive, the Parliamentary Board and the Election Committee. This may be regarded as my resignation letter," he said.

Advani's letter was delivered in person to Singh at 11 am. Advani and Singh had a meeting later at 12:30 pm.

Sources said Rajnath Singh and Modi were to go together to Advani's house and get his blessings. But Advani asked Singh to come alone for a meeting with him. When the two met, Advani expressed anger and resentment over Modi's elevation.

Singh is believed to have requested Advani to withdraw his resignation but the party veteran said he was firm on his decision.

Significantly, Advani continues to be Chairman of the BJP Parliamentary Party and Working Chairman of NDA.

Party sources said that Singh has not accepted his resignation and efforts will be made to make him withdraw it.

In the midst of media speculation over his absence that was ascribed to his reservations over Modi's elevation, the Gujarat Chief Minister claimed yesterday that he had talked to Advani and got his blessings.

Party leaders, including President Rajnath Singh, had put a brave face, saying it was ill health that kept Advani away from the Goa deliberations.

"Whatever has happened has happened on the basis of consensus," Singh had said yesterday after declaring Modi as BJP's election campaign chief.

Meanwhile, BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar, considered an Advani loyalist, rushed to Advani's house.